Monday, November 12, 2012



It's been just over a week since the opening of the LOST AND FOUND show at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts. It was a wonderful opening with lots of people attending .... lots of attention ....lots of generous words .... AND I sold my large piece .... IF FOUND RETURN TO ICARUS and a favorite of mine.... BALLAST FOR THE WINDCHASER. I could not be more pleased. Even with the attention and the sales, the highlight of the evening, for me, was getting to hang out a bit with Ron Ho. Ron is an amazing jeweler .... you can tell by the piece he is wearing. He told Linda and I that he has never owned a piece of his own jewelry because everything always sold. Recently he had an opportunity to buy back the piece he was wearing at the opening and so he did. I think it looks spectacular on him. The neckpiece he made for the show was just as amazing .... meticulously crafted with found objects from around the world including Tibetan keys and an ancient looking ear plug (maybe from Africa) and lots of other goodies. He has such a signature style that you can easily recognize a Ron Ho piece from 20 paces. I own his book .... DIM SUM AT THE ON-ON TEA ROOM and study it often .... beautiful photography and incredibly inspiring.

Ron Ho is a protege of Ramona Solberg. The only reason I am making jewelry at all is because I saw some images of Ramona's work and loved it. Before that introduction to her work I thought all jewelry was stones and diamonds and glittering stuff. Honestly, that type of jewelry has no appeal for me. Romona's jewelry is full of dominos .... found bits .... not shiny things .... the lost .... the found .... the discarded. She put found object jewelry on the map. I'm sorry I never had an opportunity to meet her but from everything I've heard she was well loved, as is Ron Ho.

Monday, November 5, 2012



One of the pieces I wanted to make for the LOST AND FOUND show at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts was a mixed media wing .... actually a wing that Daedalus might have made for Icarus. The Daedalus/Icarus myth has always been my favorite of all myths. I get it that while most people think of it as a cautionary tale about listening to your parents, I believe that Icarus couldn't help himself .... a glorious day .... a chance to show his dad that he was strong and capable .... a breeze ruffling his curly hair .... the lightness of his body .... the freedom of gravity. I think I would have done the same thing .... gotten lost in the wonderment of it all. And my heart has always ached for Daedalus. He made the wing for his son with great care and attention to detail and a tremendous amount of love. His hope and dream was that he and Icarus would escape from exile. On that day they must have both been filled with such hope and were surely quivering with excitement.

Well .... the story of my wing is about the test flight taken a few days before the fateful flight. Here is a newspaper lost and found ad that I included with my Icarus wing at the opening of the LOST AND FOUND show: (click on this image to see a larger more readable version)

My Icarus wing, instead of being made of bird feathers and beeswax, is made from various mixed metals .... leather .... mica .... wood .... a couple of etched plates .... and even some feathers cut from both sides of my sanding belts. I found a beautiful piece of thin gauge copper tucked back in a corner of my studio that had an unusual red patina on it. It added a nice warmth to my wing.

The etched poppies on brass represent remembrance. After all this time this myth is still very much alive. The early flying machine is a nod to Daedalus who was such a visionary besides being an artist .... architect .... and inventor.

This is a detail shot of some of the feathers .... I especially love the poignant feather that reads, 'ICARUS... REMEMBER WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT ...DAD'. It seems like the heart of the whole myth can be found within these few words.

Early on I decided to document the progress of making this wing. I had 1/2" baltic birch plywood left over from another project. I cut out two general wing shapes .... clamped them together .... and beveled the edges.

I cut a void in the back panel to help lessen the weight and as a way to attach a hanger.

I glued both panels together and then painted the whole wing black.

I cut individual feathers out of poster board to use as a pattern and to help me get the size and spacing right. This took a lot of trial and error to get the look I was after.

It takes a lot of space to make a wing, I've decided. Lucky for me I had recently built a 9.5' x 30" rustic wooden table in my studio barn to be used when I host large potlucks. This table was incredibly useful for wing building and having room to spread out. The wing, itself, is 44" x 9.25" x 1.5". I made it to fit me.

I often use a found object or two in my art but until this LOST AND FOUND show I had never used found objects as the primary medium. I have to say I discovered a lot of freedom in making the pieces for this show. Photo etching in metal, which has been my focus for the last several years, is not very conducive to spontaneity. The metals are expensive and I hate to make a mistake. For the most part everything is pretty well planned out before I ever touch a piece of metal. I can see in the future that a blending of found objects with the etched metals might be my path for a while. Stay tuned.....and remember to spread your wings .... and if you just can't help yourself, I don't think that flying towards the sun would be a bad way to go.

Thursday, November 1, 2012



Tomorrow evening I will be at the opening of a new show at BAINBRIDGE ARTS AND CRAFTS on Bainbridge Island called LOST AND FOUND: ASSEMBLAGE. I am one of ten artists participating in this exhibit. The artists include: LINDA COSTELLO, BIL FLEMING, CHRIS GIFFIN, NANCY HEWETT, RON HO, LINDA JARVIS, MICHOLE MADDEN, MARK OSBORN, DEBORAH PEEK and me....SHANE MILLER. KAREN HACKENBERG is being featured in the larger gallery. Her paintings are of discarded mass produced items that are found littering the edges, cracks and seams of our natural world. Many items were found along the edge of beaches here in the Pacific Northwest. Both of these shows will be on exhibit from November 2- Dec.3. The reception is Friday, November 2, 6-8pm.

The image above...BALLAST FOR THE WINDCHASER... is one of 3 pieces I will have in the show. I really enjoyed making this sculpture and was a little sad to deliver it to the gallery knowing that I might never see it again. The body of the boat .... THE an old weaving shuttle. The wood is very worn....a little primitive....and has a great patina. The ballast passengers are stones I picked up on Rialto Beach out on the coast. One of the stones wears a jaunty expression due, in part, to the red waxed linen string attire. The sail is gampi paper printed with one of my photographs of clouds. I remember the day I took the photo....there must have been a strong wind up at cloud level because bits of the clouds were being pulled off and stretched in wisps like cotton candy. Two rear wheels and one tiny front wheel carry the load. This is a simple piece that has a sort of innocence. BALLAST FOR THE WINDCHASER measures 14" long x 9.5" tall x 2.75" wide.

I am so looking forward to the opening tomorrow night. I am always happy when my friend and fellow artist, Linda Jarvis and I share a show. It means we can ride to Bainbridge Island together from Port Townsend and catch up on our lives and on the return trip we get to share notes about the's always fun. Also, my friend, Chris Giffin, from OR is one of the participating artists. I've been told she is supposed to be at the opening and it will be good to see her. I used to do a large circuit of outdoor shows and saw Chris on a regular basis but since I quit doing outdoor shows I only see Chris every blue moon or so. I am also looking forward to seeing Ron Ho. He is quite a well known jeweler here in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. He was a student of Ramona Solberg and it is easy to see her influence in his work even though his style is his own. Yesterday when Linda and I delivered our work we got to see a sneak peek at Ron's mixed media found object neckpiece. It is so beautiful and so lovingly crafted. I am honored to be in a show with Ron Ho.


Linda Jarvis and I just got invited to participate in a show at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts next June. The title of that show is SETTING SAIL....ARTISTS AT SEA. I do love having these carrots dangled out in front of me....they keep me moving forward as good dangled carrots should. So stay tuned for more boats and sailing ships.